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Cal Poly students protest as Donald Trump takes office

Cal Poly students protest Donald Trump inauguration

Cal Poly students protested President Donald Trump's inauguration with a march from Dexter Lawn to the San Luis Obispo County administration building on Friday, January 20, 2017.
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Cal Poly students protested President Donald Trump's inauguration with a march from Dexter Lawn to the San Luis Obispo County administration building on Friday, January 20, 2017.

A loud group of demonstrators gathered at Cal Poly on Friday to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump and what they called his campaign of bigotry. They urged listeners to organize and fight the new administration in order to protect access to health care, prevent deportations of undocumented immigrants, raise taxes on the wealthy and end student debt, among other issues.

About 140 people, mostly students, assembled shortly after noon in pouring rain at Cal Poly’s Dexter Lawn. About half marched to the San Luis Obispo County administration building, holding signs with statements such as “Not My President” and “2.8 million,” in reference to Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory over Donald Trump in the popular vote during the presidential election. Their chants included “education, not deportation,” and “climate change, not a hoax.”

“I started the (Cal Poly Against Donald Trump) group because I was deeply distressed by the state of this country,” Cal Poly student Isaac Schick said. “The Republican Party had stooped so low that they had elected the first president with no political experience whatsoever, had never been in the military and basically had no plan. He got on board by literally saying whatever came to his mind and got elected.”

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Isaac Schick, Cal Poly student

Schick lobbied for the crowd to “hold the burden” to make sure the country does not have “eight years of Donald Trump or even four years of Donald Trump” by speaking out and registering to vote.

Max Weinstein said he believes Trump’s cabinet appointments are unqualified, including U.S. Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos, who has no education-related degree or teaching experience. Weinstein also said he doesn’t trust Trump’s promise to bring jobs back to America.

“How can you trust that from someone who has made a career on cheapening labor and by screwing over everyone he works with and for?” Weinstein told the crowd. “He’s going to set us up, build a wall, I guess, and abandon it, just like all of his other projects.”

Abby Zilvitis, 18, said she worries about women’s rights, among other concerns, and wants to work for political change.

“I’m concerned that my rights to my body are going to be taken away, my reproductive rights,” Zilvitis said. “I’m concerned for all of the women who don’t have access to services in their lives, and the companies they’re trying to get access through are being defunded by the new president and people now in power.”

Cal Poly student Jack Ratkovich was the sole Trump supporter at the rally, wearing his “Make America Great Again” hat, playing patriotic music such as “God Bless America” on a portable stereo and holding a sign that read, “Yes, Your President.” He said he supports the new president’s priorities including legal immigration and fiscal responsibility.

I’m here to show people that other intelligent people have opinions that differ from the people protesting Donald Trump, and that I can protest their protest in a respectful manner.

Jack Ratkovich, Cal Poly student

“I’m here to show people that other intelligent people have opinions that differ from the people protesting Donald Trump, and that I can protest their protest in a respectful manner,” Ratkovich said.

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